If anyone knows how to turn lemons into lemonade, it’s Beyonce—as the world learned this week, with the release of her new visual album, Lemonade.
Whether you tuned in to its original airing on HBO, plan to download it from iTunes or Tidal this weekend, or have just heard enough about it to feel like you yourself are a woman spurned, there’s one thing that’s clear: In a 65-minute span, the pop star doles out some serious life advice to help with just about anything, whether it’s a cheating boyfriend or a loss in confidence.
If you strip down the hour-long masterpiece song by song and ignore all the Becky-with-the-good-hair gossip, you’re left with a guide to owning life (rather than the other way around).
Here are 11 seriously vital lessons from the songs on Beyonce’s Lemonade to help you take life as it comes (no matter how bad things get).
1. Always trust your intuition
“I’m prayin’ you catch me listening, I’m prayin’ to catch you whispering,” croons Bey in the visual album’s soulful intro, Pray You Catch. Here, she calls out the importance of trusting your gut. (Maybe Beyonce’s been developing her intuition the Yoga with Adriene way, with fellow Texan Adriene Mishler?) We might think that the star’s fearless, but it seems that even she forgets to trust her own instincts sometimes. Believe in your intuition—and feel free to snap your fingers as you do so.
2. Don’t be afraid to let out your emotions
Angry? Don’t bottle it up. After all, suppressing your emotions can lead to stress, which leads to bad skin and bad days—and there’s not an oil cleanser in the world that can fix that. For Beyonce, that means smashing some car windows. If you’re lucky enough to have an ornate gown, a baseball bat, and some spare car windows to destroy, go for it. If not, maybe try boxing.
3. Put yourself first
“When you hurt me, you hurt yourself,” Beyonce warns. Our take? Don’t mess with Queen Bey—and always follow this golden rule. This rock-meets-R&B collab with Jack White just might be her not-so-subtle way of reminding us to put our feelings first and foremost, and if people mess with you, just cut them out. (Cue the thrashing guitar and hardcore female drummer.) Oh, and, fur coats go great with leggings.
4. Surround yourself with a power squad
No matter how alone you may feel, having a support network is key in getting you through anything (even if it’s a running buddy there to get you through the finish line). Gather a group of strong women who will stand by your side (in Beyonce’s case, that includes Serena Williams) and build you up rather than tear you down. Hosting a women’s circle is a good place to start if you want to get your squad in formation.
5. You get what you give
In Six Inch, Beyonce sings about putting everything you’ve got into something: “She fights and she sweats those sleepless nights, but she don’t mind, she loves the grind.” The harder you work—whether at the office, in relationships, or at the gym—the more you’ll get back. And as you hustle, make sure you truly enjoy it so you can reap those benefits (hello, biceps!).
6. Resist the urge to wallow in your sorrow
In the country-inflected Daddy Lessons, Beyonce’s honeyed voice spins a magical tale of motorcycles, classic vinyl, and a father who always told her to be strong. “With his head held high he told me not to cry,” sings Bey, and despite her rocky relationship with her father and ex-manager, this advice has clearly stuck with her.
7. Remember that the bad times aren’t permanent
Sure, there are absolutely going to be tough times—but there’s light at the end of the tunnel (or, you know, that CrossFit class). “The only way to go is up, skin thick, too tough,” Bey sings in Love Drought, a ballad about an unrequited devotion.
8. It’s okay to change your mind
Perhaps you’ve tried veganism for a bit, but decided it wasn’t for you (missed you, cheese). Or maybe you stayed in a relationship for longer than you should have. Beyonce herself has something to say about this: You can change your mind—it’s fine. In her song Sandcastles, she wails, “Although I promised I couldn’t stay, baby, every promise don’t work out that way.” No need to feel guilty about a change of heart—just follow it.
9. Love heals all
It may sound cheesy, but even Beyonce believes that it’s true. When you hear her and James Blake in Forward, it’ll be sure to tug at your heartstrings. At this point in Lemonade, the singer has learned that compassion can go farther than anger (although smashing car windows is pretty cathartic). Love is powerful, and you should have it in your life—whether for a significant other, your family, your pet, a plant, your Pilates instructor…really, anyone or anything that makes you happy.
10. Don’t quit on yourself
“I’m a keep running ‘cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” Enough said. If you want to be strong for everyone else, that all begins with being strong for yourself. Let these words inspire you—or let Beyonce’s fierce stare at the end of Freedom stir you.
11. Let yourself be vulnerable
As she makes clear in Lemonade, even Beyonce can be vulnerable. All Night is her ode to her man, and she powerfully reveals that “with every tear came redemption, and my torturer became my remedy.” She was admittedly damaged by the unfaithfulness—but she’s not going to let a fear of vulnerability dictate her life. Go ahead, let yourself be sensitive sometimes. You learn from these moments—yes, even if it’s just showing up solo to a workout class you’ve never taken before. —with additional research by Ella Dove.